(Tue. 13 December, 2022) – The announcement this afternoon by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD of a dedicated further education and training (FET) college for Kilkenny city that will cater for up to 5,000 students has been warmly welcomed by its visionary and future provider, Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB).
At Leinster House this afternoon, Minister Harris announced his approval for KCETB to proceed in developing a College of the Future (COFT) that will transform further education and training throughout Kilkenny by locating all provision at a newly acquired campus in Kilkenny. The new FET college will bring together KCETB’s existing training services, post leaving certificate provision, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), Youthreach, Adult Learning Service, Adult Guidance Service, Youth and Community Education services at one dedicated site. The new college will play a critical role in enabling KCETB to substantially increase its capacity to deliver apprenticeships and traineeships catering for students, from both Kilkenny and Carlow, in modern industry-standard facilities not currently available.
Commenting on the Minister’s announcement, KCETB Chairperson Cllr Fergal Browne said, “It has been a long-held ambition of KCETB to develop a FET centre in Kilkenny and the members of our board, and indeed our previous board, have actively engaged in supporting our executive to deliver this for KCETB. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Minister Harris for recognising the value of the work in further education and training and for supporting, in a very real way, the ongoing work of our team in KCETB.”
Director of Further Education and Training (FET) for KCETB Martha Bolger said, “The entire FET staff in KCETB are thrilled at the positive news delivered today by Minister Simon Harris that the proposal for a dedicated FET campus in Kilkenny moves to the next stage of proposal development. It has been our vision for some time and will transform education and training in Kilkenny. KCETB’s FET Service catered for 12,000 students in 2022. We look forward to working with DFHERIS and SOLAS to continue to do our best for local employers, the local community and, most importantly, for our learners”.
Speaking after the Minister’s announcement, KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis commented, “The new FET college for Kilkenny is wonderful news for KCETB and, in particular today, for Kilkenny city and county. The proposed new integrated FET college is a key strategic priority for KCETB that will transform learning across the KCETB communities and assist the region in responding to the future skills needs of Kilkenny and Carlow and its hinterland. It will provide for the skill needs of local industries and create a talent pipeline of graduates available to work and live in Kilkenny and Carlow. It will also develop linkages with SETU, thus creating a strong educational base, not only for Kilkenny and Carlow, but the whole of the south-east region”.
KCETB is the largest provider of education and training across the counties of Kilkenny and Carlow, enabling 15,000 learners annually to reach their potential by offering education pathways in schools, college, training centres and community settings. Its FET provision in Kilkenny city is spread across 14 locations and buildings which are primarily leased. A dedicated FET campus will provide additional student capacity and will now enable KCETB to provide the full range of provision for students returning to learning, reskilling, and upskilling.
KCETB said the proposed new FET College will offer modern specialist facilities in areas such as electrical, professional cookery, plumbing, engineering, carpentry/joinery, multimedia and graphic design. It also has ambitions for centre of excellence development in engineering, green skills, traditional building skills, and ICT/digital capabilities. A range of associated laboratory, workshop, classroom, library, canteen, and support facilities will serve to create a dynamic learning environment providing a positive learning experience for all its future students.
Following on from this announcement, Minister Harris indicated that he will visit Kilkenny early in the New Year to meet KCETB students, board members and staff.
Main picture caption: Pictured at Leinster House today where Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD announced his approval for Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB) to proceed in developing a College of the Future (COFT) that will transform further education and training throughout Kilkenny by locating all provision at a newly acquired campus in Kilkenny, from left: KCETB Director of FET Martha Bolger; Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD; KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis and SOLAS CEO Andrew Brownlee.